Out With The Crowd: "Be very careful with Chris Sale"
Out With The Crowd is back for another season, as I get a sense of the fans' feelings about their teams in 2013. With Opening Day not far away, I spoke with longtime ChiSox fan Stuart Shiffman about divisional foes, interleague rivalries, and advice for Robin Ventura. We talked by email a couple of days ago.
Sarah D. Bunting: Who's your favorite acquisition for the 2012 season?
Judge Shiffman: Not very many new players on this year's Sox team. I think the most important acquisition for the Sox is moving Tyler Flowers from the bench to the starting line-up. He adds some right-handed pop to the line-up and is a better defensive player than AJ Pierzynski, who he replaces. Jeff Keppinger and Conor Gillaspie will be good additions at third base, hopefully.
Who's your least favorite?
I have no least favorite — I have a general concern that the Sox have not added very much to their team while other teams in the division Detroit, Cleveland and Kansas City have all made substantial additions to their rosters.
Anyone you were happy to see go? Who was the best departure for you guys?
While I will miss him as a player, I am comfortable with the Sox allowing AJ Pierzynski to leave. He was holding Flowers back and I think he may have peaked last year.
Anyone on the team you were sad to see go?
Other than AJ, as I have described above.
What's your biggest worry for the team in 2013?
I worry that the team will get off to a bad start and then fans will desert them. As a true Sox fan I also worry that they will not win the season series with the Cubs.
Where do you think the team finishes this year in the standings?
Honestly, looking at the team, I would have to say I am hopeful for a season with between 85 and 90 wins.
Any pleasant (or unpleasant) surprises so far this spring training?
The inability of John Danks to recover from his shoulder injury and surgery from last season. He has been rocked all spring and apparently has lost his velocity.
If you could tell your manager one thing, what would it be?
Be very careful with Chris Sale — do not overuse his young arm.
Anything else bugging you? Other teams/players? Headlines? Here's mine: I need a break from people talking about Roy Halladay like they're going to have to take him around behind the barn and shoot him.
As a baseball fan of 60 years, several things bother me. It costs far too much to attend a game for individuals and family. Baseball still seems reluctant to deal with performance-enhancing drugs. And finally, it is going to be freaking cold next week for Opening Day in Chicago.
Stuart Shiffman is a lifelong White Sox fan who always hoped that someday he would be general manager of the Sox or Commissioner of Baseball. He settled for being a judge in Springfield, Illinois.
Tags: AJ Pierzynski Chicago White Sox Chris Sale Conor Gillaspie Jeff Keppinger John Danks Out With The Crowd Robin Ventura Roy Halladay Stuart Shiffman Tyler Flowers